There I was, all alone in a makeshift pen, well I felt alone but there were others there. I was waiting for Lee to come in from the bike leg, nervous and full of energy. I’d never really felt like that before, I’d known competition before but never had it been so blatant and so in my face. I wanted to win, but this time I was in a team and the responsibility to bring it in was mine and that was pressure. Seconds seemed like minutes and minutes just seemed to slow into oblivion. I spied Scott, we both shrugged our shoulders, both of us didn’t expect to be in this position, though there was nothing he could do now, it would be all on me.
Don’t get me wrong, looking back, Lee did a stirling effort but Alan was a beast and had ridden that bike leg as if he had jets on his bike. He’d made up the time the B team lost on the swim leg by Scott coming out the water 8 mins prior to Rob coming out. Scott pulling off his longest O/W swim with ease making his Mum, waiting on the water side proud as punch! Rob wasn’t that far behind though on the swim, but he was still behind and meant our A team had an 8 minute lead.
Alan may have been spurred on by this in his effort to get the B team to a victory over the A team. Lee wasn’t happy at being over taken, understandably too. But right now all I could do was wait. Everything was going through my head, had Lee fallen off? Got a puncture? Hit the wall? Would I be able to catch Carina up? Carina had bolted off out of the pen as soon as Alan high fived her. I knew she would have that will to win too, after all a bit of competition is good for a run.
Suddenly, in the distance there was Lee, giving away his bike and tip toeing on his cleats to get to the pen at the other end of transition. As soon as I was tagged I was off and heard a boy say ” wow he was going fast, Mum!”. I was, I had about 5-6 mins to make up but I was going at a 5km pace rather than a 21km pace!
Should I slow down? Will I burn out at this speed? Should I sprint down this hill to make sure I would make that green man? All these things were in my head. I decided to slow it down but to keep at my lactic threshold which was about 4:30pace. This was a fast pace, one which I’d not planned on running. I’d been feeling the effects of a cold that week and my IT band still wasn’t recovered. I knew it would get aggravated in this race but I wasn’t going to not race.
Asked the question ‘What time will you do it in?’ I replied that I would be about 1:40 – 1:45 which is still reasonable but I had expected to have a head start against Carina. Our arrogance as team A had been well and truely shown up.
So there I was, running over Wade’s Bridge in Aberfeldy, chasing down a fellow member of the Tri Club but a rival in this race as a member of another team. Carina was no where to be seen. the winding roads north of the River Tay did nothing to help me sight her. She had gone. Slowly I was picking off competitors, some on the relay, most had been doing the full thing so this was no superhuman effort just beating people who had started the run a little bit tired!
The road was undulating and the sun had made an appearance in this warm afternoon. The trees offered shelter but there was no breeze to be felt. Muggy, sweaty and tired I was running and hugging the right side of the road.
Every person I passed I said hello to and made sure that they knew I was a relay member as I thought it would be a bit demoralising for a full competitor to be overtaking them when they were struggling! This however didn’t make my task any easier.
Carina was still nowhere to be seen. I was starting to feel the dull ache of my IT band rubbing on the left side of my knee. Knowing that I would be ribbed for stopping and giving in I accepted the ache and tried to alter my stride going up hills so it minimised it.
7kms in, still no Carina. Where was she? She must have been running an exceptional pace. By this point I’d got myself into a stride and the hills were manageable. I had some water at a station which is unusual for me as I’d not normally take on fluid during a half but the heat made me thirsty.
Rounding a corner I was afforded a view of about 500m in front and there, running next to someone else there was Carina in her blue and black suit. I felt like I was stalking her down but in reality she was out running me, as I had no idea if I could have sustained that pace for the last half of the race.
I was developing strategies in my mind, should I over take and keep the pace? should I shadow her until Aberfeldy then do a sprint finish? would I be able to sprint finish? I decided I would slow up and catch my breath, allow some of this lactic acid that was present in my thighs to dissipate somewhat and also allow this stitch that was trying so hard to stab me in my ribs to go away. Then when I was feeling better I would then go for the over take.
Turns out though I was able to slow down and still make some ground, slowing too much would have affected me even worse but I caught up with Carina who was running the race of her life – on strides for a PB. I ran with her for a bit, around the turn around point where a little girl shouted to her Dad, ‘Look it’s a girl yey!’ So I joined in. WOOO GIRLS! But maybe that was just a bit weird and too much. I continued with Carina for a bit and chatted about the route so far and of course, the weather. Then slowly I picked up my pace and didn’t look back. Well, not for a good while. I got into my pace again and felt good, saying well done to all of the guys who were on the other side of the road running out. I was glad to be running back into Aberfeldy.
I reached the 8km to go point and looked back, thankfully no sign of Carina and I have to admit that I did slow at this point. High fiving Acky who was running well and seeming in good spirits in turn lifted my spirits, about 10mins later I passed Angus who again was looking well and we fived in the middle of the road. These guys were doing great especially Angus on his first ever Tri!
Back into the race I joined the main road into Aberfeldy, back over Wade’s bridge and some guy had shouted to me 51st runner. I passed a few on the way to the school, which took us on a bit of a diversion and a demoralising 20m run in the opposite direction before turning back up the road and into the school car park.
Running into the pen I glanced at my watch, 1.32. I was fairly surprised at this as hadn’t expected to run quite that fast but it felt good.
Carina, followed in shortly after with a PB at 1:42 and I have to commend her for that run!
Team A winning but on a very narrow margin given the distances involved. 5:06 was our total time, coming in 13th in the team event which was 48th with all the solo competitors. B team were 14th team 5:16 total.
Plenty of gentle ribbing toward Lee but as I said before everyone put in a great effort and it was probably one of my most enjoyable race meets. The weather and the group from the Tri club definitely made it.
All we had to do was wait for the two full solo competitors from our club to make their way in. Acky came in and we thought Angus would be soon to follow but he was taking longer than we thought, though he had said he just wanted to finish, he’d like to be under 7hrs. With it being 6:55 I decided to jog down the route just in case he was on the fringes of making it. Unfortunately not but as I rounded the corner there he was. Just outside the 7hr mark and still running. I ran with him for a bit and conversed, if only to take his mind away from it. But then left him so that on the finishing straight he could complete it alone and revel in the glory of doing a half iron distance triathlon!
Angus did grand for his first Triathlon and has definitely given me the inspiration to do it next year.
All in all a great day out and a good few beers and banter in the evening rounded off a great day!